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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Murray   10 January [1867]

Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.

Jan. 10th

My dear Sir

Your note has been a great relief to me; & I am very glad that you agree about type.— I will insert Wood-cuts.1

I am rather alarmed about the verdict of your friend, as he is not a man of science.— I think if you had sent the Origin to an unscientific man, he wd. have utterly condemned it. I am,, however, very glad that you have consulted anyone, on whom you can rely.—2

I must add that my Journal of Researches was seen in M.S by an eminent semi-scientific man, & was pronounced unfit for publication.3 Let me hear at once as soon as I may send to your house (ie Albemarle St) for the M.S.; as I much wish to begin printing, & I will return to Mess Clowes the few first chapters in a day or two.—4

Yours very sincerely | Ch. Darwin

Look at Athenæum at my letter about “Cut Books” & “Eminent publisher”.—5


CD refers to the type sizes and woodcuts for Variation (see letter from John Murray, 9 January [1867]).
Murray had not identified the reader of Variation, John Milton, to CD (see letter from John Murray, 9 January [1867] and n. 4). CD also refers to Origin.
No reader of the manuscript of CD’s Journal and remarks, the third volume of the record of the Beagle voyage (Narrative), has been identified; it was published in 1839. Robert FitzRoy read the proof-sheets (see Browne 1995, p. 414). For CD’s writing of Journal and remarks, and for its separate publication as Journal of researches, see Correspondence vol. 2.
CD refers to Murray’s publishing house, at 50A Albemarle Street, London, and to the printer William Clowes & Sons (see letter to John Murray, 8 January [1867] and n. 5).
In his letter to the Athenæum of 1 January 1867, CD urged that books be published with pages already cut. The ‘eminent publisher’ mentioned in his letter, who had told him that booksellers would object to receiving books cut, was John Murray (see Correspondence vol. 14, letter from John Murray, 18 July [1866]).


Athenæum. 1844. A few words by way of comment on Miss Martineau’s statement. No. 896 (28 December): 1198–9.

Browne, Janet. 1995. Charles Darwin. Voyaging. Volume I of a biography. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 27 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.

Journal and remarks: Journal and remarks. 1832–1836. By Charles Darwin. Vol. 3 of Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s ships Adventure and Beagle between the years 1826 and 1836, describing their examination of the southern shores of South America, and the Beagle’s circumnavigation of the globe. London: Henry Colburn. 1839. [Separately published as Journal of researches.]

Journal of researches: Journal of researches into the geology and natural history of the various countries visited by HMS Beagle, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, RN, from 1832 to 1836. By Charles Darwin. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

Narrative: Narrative of the surveying voyages of His Majesty’s ships Adventure and Beagle, between the years 1826 and 1836. [Edited by Robert FitzRoy.] 3 vols. and appendix. London: Henry Colburn. 1839.

Variation: The variation of animals and plants under domestication. By Charles Darwin. 2 vols. London: John Murray. 1868.


Relieved by JM’s note and by his agreement on type size. Is alarmed by what the verdict [on Variation] of JM’s friend will be. He is not a man of science. An unscientific reader would have condemned the Origin. An eminent semi-scientific man thought the Journal of researches not worth publishing.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Murray
Sent from
Source of text
National Library of Scotland (John Murray Archive) (Ms.42152 f. 166)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 5356,” accessed on 27 February 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 15